Today is National Signing Day, the day when hyper-talented 17- and 18-year-old high school football players officially decide which maniacal college fan base will scream at them for the next few years. Most of these players have been in the crosshairs of college coaches for years now, inundated with calls, texts, and even handwritten letters encouraging them to declare for their school. Signing Day is when those coaches find out if hunting down teenages all those years was worth it.
Obviously, there is a huge amount of fan interest in picking apart the college choices of 17- and 18-year-old kids. For example, here's the media-filled viewpoint of Malachi Dupre, the top-ranked high school wide receiver, as he got ready to officially announce his college decision.
Of course, Signing Day has its rituals and traditions that probably seem a little odd from outside of the college sports bubble. Between the hats, the props, and the oopsies, we're here to break down the things to know from this year's big day.
National Signing Day might as well be sponsored by Lids. Though players sometimes give a little speech about which school they will attend and why, most simply just announce their choice by sticking that school's hat on their heads. Flat bills are, of course, a must. From left to right, here's Dupre choosing LSU, safety Mattrell McGraw choosing a shiny Oregon cap, and linebacker Kenny Young going with a white-front, baby blue-back of UCLA.
Nice hat game, guys. The same cannot be said for Damian Prince, a Maryland area linebacker, who gets negative points for this dweeby-looking hat in declaring for University of Maryland. Between its ill fit, smushed appearance, and cheesy flame-colored "Maryland," this hat is auf wiedersehen. Try harder next time, Mr. Prince.
Despite its recent football success, Texas-area defensive end Solomon Thomas is well aware that Stanford is still a nerd school. So in making his decision to head to Palo Alto, Thomas threw on some Harry Potter-esque taped glasses and brought out a mini-tree — both key elements of the Stanford mascot and the typical student.
It's never too early for some trash talk, even for players who haven't officially become students yet. Outside linebacker Jake Pugh III committed to Florida State — and thought to bring his little brother along.
For those unfamiliar, "U" is the nickname for the University of Miami, one of FSU's main rivals. The Pugh family is already getting in the Seminole spirit.
Honoring his Hawaiian heritage, offensive lineman Damian Mama added a lei to his outfit in declaring for Southern Cal.
Senior offensive lineman Damien Mama will be attending USC next year! pic.twitter.com/pDJJO78CTQ— Bosco Football (@boscofootball) February 5, 2014
Star outside linebacker Rashaan Evans was choosing between Alabama and Auburn, the two long-time Iron Bowl rivals. He had previously committed to Auburn, but had second thoughts today, throwing on an Alabama hat and declaring for the Crimson Tide instead. Auburn apparently didn't know about the switch, as they had already added a player page for Evans to their website.
Schools weren't the only ones to make some mistakes. Chad Thomas, a Miami-area defensive end, was late to his announcement because of a "late breakfast," he said. According to Sports Illustrated, "that resulted in a bumbling, documentary-style, one-man camera search for the prospect." He would choose to stay in the area and attend the University of Miami.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.